Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Lost Palestinian Cause

By my reading, often proposed on this blog, the Palestinian cause is a lost cause. The terrorist organizations that comprise the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have lost the support of their primary backers in the Sunni Arab world. By my reading Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt have decided that defending Palestinian terrorism is not worth the price.

Thus long time readers of this blog will not be surprised to read Walter Russell Mead on the situation in the Middle East:

Most Arab rulers now see Palestinian demands as an inconvenient obstacle to a necessary strategic alliance with Israel. The major Gulf states and Egypt apparently have agreed on two goals. The first is to strangle Hamas in Gaza to restore the authority of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. The second is to press the authority to accept the kind of peace that Israel has offered repeatedly and that Yasser Arafat and his successor have so far rejected.

These facts were reported here, thanks to the Debkafile site.

Evidently, Mahmoud Abbas is enraged. He does not know how to lose gracefully, so, for now he is playing for time:

Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are playing for time. They support the first goal by refusing to pay the salaries of government employees in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip even as they resist pressure to make peace with the Jewish State. It is not yet clear what the authority’s final response to the peace pressure will be. Even if it ultimately decides to accept an Arab-sponsored compromise, making a show of resistance can improve its credibility with the Palestinian public and, perhaps, extract better terms.

As for the Hamas-run Gaza strip, the situation is dire:

Hamas is in an even more desperate plight. The Arab blockade and donor strike cripples Gaza in ways the Israelis never could. Food is growing scarce, electricity is erratic, unemployment exceeds 40%, and raw sewage runs into the sea. Many Gaza residents presumably want the only thing Hamas can’t offer: relief.

This means that the recent Palestinian protests on the border between Israel and Gazan were theatre, designed to gin up the outrage machine in Europe, the better to extract concessions from the Israelis. One remarks that they were not a rousing success.

The Arab governments want Hamas crushed, and they won’t stop Israel from doing the job.

The current demonstrations, Hamas hopes, can whip up a global wave of rage and indignation against Israel without provoking a full-on war. That might weaken the Arab coalition against it. But the prime audience for Hamas’s performance this time isn’t the Arab world; it is Turkey and Iran, whose support Hamas will need to survive if it is driven from Gaza (as Arafat was once driven from Jordan and Lebanon).

The wild card in the equation is the situation in Syria. Mead suggests that victorious Turkish and Iranian forces in that nation threaten Sunni Arabs. He adds that the apparent American willingness to walk away from the theatre represents a grievous error, one that will empower Turks, Iranians and Russians.

Sunni Arab states are left to fend for themselves, and are looking to Israel for protection. They also, Mead argues, believe that Israel can exert the most influence on the United States, thus keeping America in the game.

But the American protection on which Arabs rely cannot be taken for granted, as President Trump’s apparent determination to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria in the near term demonstrates. Under these circumstances, Israel’s unmatched access to Washington makes Jerusalem even more important to Arab calculations. Perhaps only Israel can keep the U.S. engaged in the region.


Sam L. said...

I think the Sunni Arabs are going to have to get together to fight the Shiites. It's not the US's job, nor the Israelis'.

Anonymous said...

What's happened to Jack? I miss his comments. I must say I like everyone's comments here, pretty good crowd.

Sam L. said...

Who was it said "The Palestinians never miss a chance to miss a chance."? They want what they want, and will accept no substitutes for the exact thing they want. As a result, they get NOTHING. Nothing, except scorn and poverty. Oh, yes, there's enmity, too.